• sophiasalmassi

John Wing

Updated: Jan 16, 2021

What comedy most inspires you?

Probably original wordsmith-y stuff. Great structure I find inspiring also. Dave Chappelle's first recent special was an example. The one with the thread of "I met O.J. Simpson four times" A truly fantastic hour.

Which comedian most inspires you?

Difficult. I was inspired young by George Carlin, so I'll say him, since I'm now in the realm of aging and trying to stay relevant in the job, something he did so beautifully. He and Richard Pryor were my earliest inspirations.

Which comedian scares the shit out of you because you know you'll never be that good?

In my early days it was Mike MacDonald, who was also an inspiration and continues to be one. But I came to the place where I understood that I can't do comedy like anyone else, nor can anyone else do it as I do it, so how good someone else is, while occasionally intimidating, doesn't make me think "I'll never be that good"

Why and how did you get into comedy?

I trolled around in late high school and early university, trying to find some performing vehicle I felt the most comfortable doing. I found comedy late in my twentieth year, and was astounded by it's power. Growing up in a small town in Canada, aspiring to be a comedian simply wasn't a practical ambition, but then I found myself in Toronto at 20, and there was a comedy club. And I went to see a show. And then another show. And I signed up for Amateur night. And June 30th, 1980, I performed there. I went on fifteenth out of eighteen comedians, on a night when everyone was bombing, and with no knowledge at all of what I was doing, which was an imitation of what I thought a comedian was, I destroyed. Every single thing I said got laughs. I ad-libbed from my prepared set, I felt free, and they went with all of it. I did so well I was invited back the next Monday for the owner to see me, and I was certain I would be instantly promoted to the salivating phrase "Regular nights". After which, the goal would be "Weekends". I went up the second Monday in a prime spot and just ate it. It was the longest five minutes of my life. Not a thing I said got any response at all. And that did it. I was hooked.

What drives you to do what you do?

It's the only thing, other than writing, that I'm any damn good at at all. I am driven by supporting one daughter in college and another out of college but still in need of support. I also want to continue to improve. The profession is a constant challenge to be relevant and original, both of which become more difficult as one ages. I am driven to jump through every hoop in order to get to the stage and perform, since the time of performance is the best time, without exception. Karl Wallenda said, "Life is on the wire. The rest is waiting."

Describe your perfect Tuesday.

Get up around 8. Have my lemon juice and then take coffee into my writing room and work on my novel for three or four hours. Or some poems, or some jokes. Then go hit some golf balls. Come home and play piano for an hour or two, maybe work on a new song. Play some guitar. Watch my team play hockey on TV while making dinner for my wife, and after she goes to bed, put on an old movie I've seen many times and listen to it while I work on my latest needlepoint project. Possibly a long walk thrown in and maybe some sex, though on a Tuesday that's not likely.

Describe your worst transport experience travelling between gigs.